The QT

Saturday 15 June 2024

Review: Baxter Dury at The Glasshouse

Baxter Dury and his band gets a crowd of all ages dancing on Tyneside. Steve Jackson was one of them
Baxter Dury on stage at The Glasshouse

Although his talent deserves better – it’s almost impossible to review Baxter Dury without mentioning his dad. So let’s get that out of the way. 

A mere 42 years, nine months and nine days ago, I watched Baxter’s dad, Ian, (and the Blockheads) play at the Rock on the Tyne Festival at Gateshead Stadium.

I was 10 and with my dad, I don’t suppose Baxter (nine) was in attendance. 

On Tuesday night, all these years later, we were a mile up the road at the Glasshouse International Music Centre watching Baxter and band playing their biggest North East gig to date.

Despite arguably benefitting from being, in his own words, “a very budget nepo baby”, Baxter Dury’s career has been built by stealth. While he’s still very much under the radar, his popularity is growing and it’s not hard to see why.

‘Budget nepo baby’, Baxter Dury and band in Gateshead

Suave suit, stick thin and artfully unkempt, the man has charisma and great tunes too. Baxter is understandably huge in France. While here he may struggle to escape his dad’s shadow –  there he’s more likely to evoke comparisons with Serge Gainsbourg. 

Who is his British crowd? Judging by The Glasshouse audience, they’re drawn from Generations X to Z with even a smattering of younger boomers.

And, although the venue didn’t appear to be entirely full – Baxter wasn’t content to go through the motions in a setting that was perhaps less club-like than he was used to. Nobody moves like Baxter. While other front men dance like nobody’s watching, Baxter dances as if no one else exists.

Jacket on, jacket off, jacket swirled, scarf around head, around waist, around chest etc. Microphone stand swung at head height. If a Tuesday night Glasshouse crowd weren’t exactly jumping then it wasn’t for the lack of trying. I’m Not Your Dog, Slumlord and Aylesbury Boy were the high points of the first part of the evening.

It was noticeable, at this point, that Baxter’s bottled water was suddenly replaced by two large glasses of red.

Baxter, ready for a glass of red

Then came a blistering Miami.

“I don’t think you know who I am. I’m the sausage man. The shadow licker. I’m the tiny little ghost that features in your despondent moments. The timeless whisper. The glassy dude….”

Leaving the stage to cheers, the band soon returned and the energy was taken up a notch as the wine was necked. Cocaine Man lifted the crowd but it was a raucous These are My Friends that got us dancing.

“Come on Gateshead stroke Newcastle,” shouted Baxter.

“I hate London, I love it are my friends!”

Having effectively won the gig in extra time, Baxter walked off shouting “We’re coming back!” but it turned out he meant to Gateshead rather than the stage.

Two decades into his music career, it feels like Baxter is yet to peak. While he’s never quite broken through into the mainstream, there are few acts still improving at this stage of their journey.

Because, whether it’s lifting a Glasshouse crowd or putting out his best records into his 50s, the lad’s got staying power. 

And he’s our friend.


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